Michaela Negus Mickey Edge & Node Sandia Albuquerque Renaissance Web3 The Graph Engineering

GRTiQ Podcast: 143 Michaela Negus

Today I am speaking with Michaela (Mickey) Negus, Engineering Manager at Edge & Node, a core dev team working on The Graph. Mickey is actively engaged with multiple teams within Edge & Node that are making a significant impact on The Graph protocol. Her role involves helping to tackle several complex challenges, such as leveling up technical support within a decentralized ecosystem.

As you’re about to discover, Mickey’s journey into web3 is anything but conventional. Her path meanders through a fascinating series of experiences, including a foreign exchange trip to Russia, immersion in the Renaissance Fair, a stint in the emergency room in Albuquerque, and noteworthy work at Sandia Labs on several fascinating projects. We then explore her transition into the web3 space, as she talks about the insights and experiences that led her to join the dynamic team at Edge & Node

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The following podcast is for informational purposes only. The contents of this podcast do not constitute tax, legal or investment advice. Take responsibility for your own decisions, consult with the proper professionals and do your own research.

Mickey Negus (00:00:18):

And for me, it hit all of the points I cared about and it was fulfilling this need for an incredibly huge, big challenge and huge big mission that literally will change the world.

Nick (00:01:00):

Welcome to the GRTiQ Podcast. Today, I’m speaking with Michaela Negus, also known as Mickey, Engineering Manager at Edge & Node, a core dev team working on The Graph. Mickey is actively engaged with multiple teams within Edge & Node that are making a significant impact on The Graph protocol. Her role involves helping to tackle several complex challenges, such as introducing technical support within a decentralized ecosystem.


As you’re about to discover, Mickey’s journey into web3 is anything but conventional. Like so many other guests on the podcast, her path meanders through a fascinating series of experiences including a foreign exchange trip to Russia, immersion in the Renaissance Fair, a stint working in the emergency room in Albuquerque, and noteworthy work at Sandia Labs working on several fascinating projects.


Then Mickey and I explore her transition into the web3 space. And she talks about the insights and experiences that led her to join the dynamic team at Edge & Node. As always, we start the discussion talking about Mickey’s educational background.

Mickey Negus (00:02:06):

I guess, I have two phases of my education. At first, I thought I wanted to become a tech writer, so I went and got a BA in English with a focus in communication from the University of Phoenix. And then I followed that with an MA in communication with a focus in nonprofit and corporate communication from Johns Hopkins. And then I’ve had a non-traditional career. So partway through my career, I wanted to switch over to engineering, so I went back to school and got an MS in systems engineering from Johns Hopkins as well.

Nick (00:02:37):

Mickey, I haven’t had a ton of guests at the podcasts that are interested in writing. And as you said there early on in your career, you were interested in technical writing. So, what drew you to that? I mean, when in your life did you realize, hey, I have an affinity for or a talent for writing?

Mickey Negus (00:02:53):

I mean, I’ve always been an avid reader, so even to this day, I read over 150 books a year. The weird fun fact or terrifying, weird fact about me. So I’ve always read a lot, and I thought if I was going to go to school for something, it should be for something that I knew I loved. And since I knew I loved reading, I decided to focus on English.


And throughout taking some core classes, I took some communications classes and more discovered my love of writing and went down the technical writing road. I’ve also had a love of languages. I was a foreign exchange student in Russia, so for me, just doing something with language to some degree was what I originally wanted to focus on in my career.

Nick (00:03:36):

Mickey, I tend to agree with you. I think the best writers are often the ones that like to read the most, and at least a lot of people whose writing I enjoy, when they talk about why they’re talented at writing, they say, “Well, I like to read.” What’s the connection there? I mean, why do you think that’s the case that people that enjoy writing or proficient writing happen to be avid readers as well?

Mickey Negus (00:03:55):

That’s a great question. I think I haven’t really put too much thought into that, but I would say just for me personally, you have to love being in that world. Whether you can’t write or edit documents without reading them as well. So for me, it went hand in hand. It would be hard, I think, to be a technical writer and not enjoy reading because inherently you have to self edit at a minimum.


So there’s just a lot of reading involved in being a writer as well. Even people who write fiction novels often they’re the first few passes of editing are from the author themselves. So to me there are two sides of the same coin.

Nick (00:04:33):

Well, I’m excited to get to the GRTiQ 10 with you where we talk about your favorite book because as somebody who’s read as much as you, I’m very curious what you would put at the top of the list. But before we get there, we got a lot of ground to cover. And the first thing I want to double click on is this exchange work you did in Russia. What can you tell us about what you were doing and what that experience was like?

Mickey Negus (00:04:52):

I went to Russia as an exchange student through the Rotary Club. At the time, I grew up in upstate New York and my local Rotary Club sponsored me to study abroad. So they connected me to a host school and host families to live with in the far east and Russia where I lived. And I mean, it was kind of a wild experience, to be honest, a very different culture. I think it was an excellent foundational experience to have. I would encourage anyone to be an exchange student if they can, especially for longer duration. So I did a full year there.


It was actually my senior year of high school, and so I was 16 and turned 17 while I lived there. It was a really cool deep dive into a culture and country really that was very different from my own, and I made amazing friendships there. Got to explore different areas of Russia, of the country, and each area felt like its own mini country with its own mini culture. I got to learn a new language, which was really challenging and very fun. And overall, it was an incredible, very foundational experience for me. And a lot of who I am today, I built that on this foundation of living in a foreign country at a young age alone without my parents and without a safety net.


I would say anywhere there are pros and cons or pluses and minuses. So there were definitely some things that were challenging for me as an American to come to terms with, like there was a lot of corruption and bribery. I, as a teenager had to bribe my Rotary Club contact the person who was supposed to take care of me. In my experience, that was extremely common there.


There’s not really culturally such a thing as calling 911 for help. You really have to deal with your own problems yourself. And so a lot of that core infrastructure or support that I was used to getting as an American just didn’t exist there. If you call a police officer, they’re going to ask for a bribe. So it was a very different world in that sense, very eye-opening and I super appreciated that experience.

Nick (00:07:00):

Okay, Mickey, so you go on an exchange to Russia and you’re describing some of the things you encountered there, bribes, and I know Russia’s changed a lot over the years. It’s not exactly as it was then, but it was still probably a pretty intimidating place for a young person just to go out into the world. I mean, were you overwhelmed by that or was this an adventure for you where you’re like, “Hey, this is a way to experience the world?”

Mickey Negus (00:07:22):

It was, I think a mix of both. So, I was pretty adventurous anyway and pretty autonomous even as a teenager. As soon as I could start working and getting any kind of money for myself throughout high school, I would use that to buy bus tickets and bust myself all over Upstate New York or go to the city. And so for me, this was just taking that adventurous spirit I already have and going someplace new.


I will say when I landed in Vladivostok, the city that I lived in, I realized in that moment that I had no idea who was picking me up there. And so I had this terrifying moment of being there with another student and we’re like, “This is the end. We’re going to get abducted. We have no clue.” And so some random Russian man and woman came up to us, and they could barely speak English, and they basically herded us out to their car and we’re like, “Here goes nothing. What else can we do?” And it turned out to be our first host family.


So yeah, it was definitely a pretty interesting introduction with very little planning. I guess on our end, we didn’t know who was picking us up, so I think that was jumping into the deep end. But I think the benefit of living with host families, it’s not like I was staying in a hotel alone. There I was with families, locals, people who were very nurturing and caring towards me and who guided me through life in Russia and really helped reduce that fear. I think that it could be scarier being there completely alone, living in a hotel or an apartment by yourself. So I definitely appreciated having local families.

Nick (00:08:58):

Every once in a while on this podcast, a guest shares a story from their background that I feel like could be an episode in and of itself, and I wish we could spend a lot more time on your time in Russia and some of the things you learned there. And as you said there, it sounds like you were a very independent young person, but I’m sure that experience in Russia bolstered that and you left even more independent.


I do, however, always like to ask this question to people that have traveled or lived abroad. If a listener ever finds themselves traveling through or to Russia and they should try one food or drink or if they’re a place they should go visit, what would you recommend based on your experience there?

Mickey Negus (00:09:31):

Such a good question. My favorite Russian food is Blini with mitonates. It’s like crepes with a sort of sour cream, but it’s a little sweeter. It’s classic Russian dish, breakfast dish. It’s very good. I think they have a number of classically Russian drinks, like a compote is this juice that every Russian person makes at home in a giant pot on the stove. There’s also Kvass, which is sort of like kombucha, so if you like kombucha, you’d probably love Kvass. And then Kissel is sort of plain yogurt that you can drink. And then of course vodka, if you want to put some hair on your chest, Russian vodka makes American vodka look like water.

Nick (00:10:13):

Mickey, as you mentioned in your background as well, you eventually came home from Russia and you joined and went to work on the Renaissance Fair. So this is another GRTiQ. First, I haven’t had the chance to interview anybody that’s been in that community or gone to work on it. What did you do there and what is the Renaissance Fair?

Mickey Negus (00:10:31):

Yeah, I think I would love to hear from anyone else who’s ever worked at a Run Fair. So yeah, I mean after my year in Russia, I flew back to New York. And quite frankly wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with myself. Turned 18, knew I was not ready to go to college. I was really afraid that if I went straight into college, I would flunk out. I felt at that time pretty disillusioned with the world and just generally confused and a little bit lost.


And so a friend of mine that I had gone to LARPing camp with, so like foam swords, running through the forest, pretending to be elves, that kind of thing. Her sister did the whole Renaissance Fair Circuit across the United States, and she had a booth at the Arizona Renaissance Festival East of Phoenix, and her sister had this booth there. She made leather masks by hand and she invited me to go work with her.


So I just had a yolo moment of like, “Here I can go do that. I can travel more. I’ve got this travel bug.” And so I went to Arizona and spent… That was kind of my induction into the Run Fair Circuit. I spent three months there learning how to make leather masks by hand, starting from a giant hide and stenciling on the shape of the mask and cutting that out with shear, sculpting, painting the whole nine yards.


And from there you just build up a network. So I built up a network of other folks I could work with in Texas and Colorado at those Renaissance Festivals. And for those other shows I did jewelry. So the other booth owner taught me how to make jewelry by hand. It was honestly pretty interesting. I mean, I didn’t have a home anywhere. Everything I owned fit into my junky old Honda Accord wagon, and it was pretty freeing though, a really freeing, liberating experience, getting to earn money, making things with my hands.

Nick (00:12:15):

When You think about the Renaissance Fair and maybe the movement underneath that, is it a educational device where people are like, hey, let’s teach more and expand public’s knowledge about this important period of time, or is it like a revisit of themes, trying to make sure we don’t let go of something from the past and keep it top of mind in the social zeitgeist, if you will?

Mickey Negus (00:12:39):

That’s such a cool question. So, I would say each show is a little bit different, and each booth owner has different motivations for doing the shows. And then also different booth owners have different crafts. I think at the end of the day, the Renaissance Fairs are there for entertainment, but some booth owners, the woman who made leather masks for example, that I worked with, that was a tradition passed down from mask maker to mask maker tracing back to literally the Renaissance times.


The method that we used for making the masks was a trade secret that only could be passed down from master mask maker to apprentice. So it was taken very seriously. But then you also have the food vendors who have smoked Turkey legs. I think they’re in it for a different reason. It’s not like they’re preserving some kind of Renaissance style of Turkey leg cooking. So it’s kind of a mixed bag and every vendor and every show is a little bit different.

Nick (00:13:34):

What Did this experience teach you about community? So, as I think about Renaissance Fair, and obviously I exist outside of that, I don’t have any experience working at it, although near my hometown there’s always some pretty big festivals that I think highlight this work, but this must be your first experience in life working with what seems like a DAO, In some ways. There’s this decentralized autonomous organization, but in this case it’s just driving Renaissance awareness and fairs and activities. I mean, have I characterized that right? And what did you learn about community in that context?

Mickey Negus (00:14:07):

It is like run DAO, I guess. I think the main lesson I learned about community is that while each show is a collection of booths, each trying to obviously make a profit, make a livable wage, we were all there to create this curated experience for the people visiting.


We were in character even while selling our wares and tried to work together to create this shared experience so a visitor would look at the entire show, not just think of one booth that stood out, but think of the entire collection of booths as this renaissance experience.


And that took coordination and it was almost unsaid, like there wasn’t some gathering of the booth owners to agree on that. It was just this implicit part of the Renaissance Fair culture.

Nick (00:14:59):

One last sort of fun question here about this Mickey would be, what is it about the Renaissance that we do need to hold onto here in modernity? I mean, I’m familiar with the Renaissance and of course a lot of listeners will be, but from your perspective, have you thought about that? Are there a couple just key tenets that we really need to hold onto from this period of time?

Mickey Negus (00:15:20):

Yeah, definitely. I think in modern times we tend to focus a lot on science and religion or spirituality or if you aren’t a spiritual person, atheism. I think those two things in modern times those are tools for how we understand the world and how it works and our place in it. Science tells us the how, how we’re able to be alive in the world, how the universe works. Religion, spirituality, or atheism tells us our why, our purpose for being here.


But there’s this third piece that I think was a huge focus of the Renaissance Fairs that especially in the Renaissance era, art was booming. And art to me is a vehicle that we use to express how we feel about science or express how we feel about religion or spirituality or atheism. And I don’t want us to lose sight of that, especially in a world of high tech and AI, we really need to remember that the best art is created by humans as a means of expressing our existence.

Speaker 1 (00:16:24):

The GRTiQ Podcast is made possible by a generous grant from The Graph Foundation. The Graph Grants program provides support for protocol infrastructure, pooling gaps, sub graft and community building efforts. Learn more at thegraph.foundation. That’s thegraph.foundation.

Nick (00:16:53):

Hi, this is GRTiQ and thank you for listening. Listeners who enjoy this content can help support the GRTiQ Podcast by leaving a review or a five star rating wherever they download podcasts, by sharing episodes on social media or by simply telling a friend or colleague about something they heard or learned from one of our guests. Get support from listeners like you to make it possible for us to keep shining a light on the people and stories behind web3 and The Graph.


Well, Mickey, as you mentioned there, you presently live in Albuquerque, and again, this is another GRTiQ. First, I haven’t had the opportunity to interview somebody who lives in Albuquerque. What can you tell us about your move out there? And of course, is there a crypto scene there for example, I know RESTCONF was just there, so there is a little bit of a tech scene there, right?

Mickey Negus (00:17:45):

Yeah, definitely. So, I have family all over the country, including across the Southwest in Arizona and Colorado and here in New Mexico. So my parents had relocated to Albuquerque and I stopped through and never left, so it was accidental, not a real intentional move, but I built a life here, had a career here, met my husband here.


There is a huge tech scene here, not so much of a crypto scene though yet, so there’s a massive national laboratory in Albuquerque and then another one up outside of Santa Fe. And then we also have a really large and healthy entrepreneurial tech scene. In one of my past lives, I co-founded a video game development nonprofit here, and there’s a huge appetite for that. As you mentioned, RESTCONF was here. Yeah, great turnout for that event. The Graph had a booth there.


So I think Albuquerque has so much potential. We have a lot of really cool tax credits. There’s a huge aerospace scene, there’s now a Spaceport down South, so a lot going on. I think crypto and probably AI, I feel like will be the next two tech areas to get developed further in New Mexico. I’ve been idly thinking if we should have something like what ATX Dow did in Austin, maybe there should be an ABQ Dow and start building up intentionally a crypto community since one doesn’t seem to be forming organically. There are a few of us here, it just hasn’t turned into a larger movement yet.

Nick (00:19:19):

As you moved to Albuquerque, I think you mentioned you weren’t necessarily doing the Renaissance Fair anymore and you got a job there. So if we go back to your career track a little bit here, what did you start doing more professionally once you settled in Albuquerque?

Mickey Negus (00:19:31):

Yeah, the first real job I got in Albuquerque was at a hospital. I spent just under five years there and most of that time was in the emergency department, more specifically in the trauma and resuscitation rooms. It was kind of funny. For the first few months I worked at the hospital, I actually worked at the coffee shop. This was before I went back to school. And one of the charge nurses in the ER was a regular customer of mine, and she said, “Your work ethics incredible. I want people like you working in the ER.” And so she hired me as a tech and trained me.


And from there, I became a clerk working in the trauma room basically as the nurses and doctors right hand person entering orders, getting blood from a blood bank, all of that stuff. So it was a pretty chaotic first job to have in a new city, but it was really fun and I learned so much from working in the ER. More kind of how I mentioned, I learned foundational life skills in Russia, learned foundational life skills in the Run Fair.


I feel very much the same way about the hospital. It taught me how to thrive in a really chaotic environment where everyone around you is literally dying, their lives are on the line and you have to thrive in a crisis. And that I’ve taken with me throughout the rest of my career as well.

Nick (00:20:46):

What did you learn about working under stress? Type of stress that you see in an ER, what did you learn about that by virtue of the experience there?

Mickey Negus (00:20:56):

I learned a lot. So, the first most important lesson that I learned was how to compartmentalize. There were a lot of traumatic things going on around me, and I learned that I had to separate my emotions away from being able to perform my job duties in that environment. So compartmentalizing has been pretty key for me in my life. Another main one is when everything is a P zero, like that you’re in an area with seven bays and no one has a pulse and everyone’s getting CPR done on them, and then a gunshot victim rolls in the door. You have to learn how to multitask beyond what you thought you were capable of.


And within that P one priority level, you have to figure out how to order things that need to happen, tasks you have to do, that life-saving tasks that you have to do when everything feels urgent, like there still is further prioritization you can do even when you have 10 things to do that are all P zero, you can figure out a way to order them so you’re not just paralyzed.

Nick (00:22:02):

One thing that’s impressed me with medical professionals, especially in an environment like the ER, is that eventually it just becomes a job. And so even though there’s a lot of things going on, and it is often the case, these are life and death type things for the professionals, and I think this is a good thing. This is a day at the office where they’re just optimizing for positive outcomes. I mean, did you find that to be true? Is it at the end of the day, some of the spectacular nature of it all just becomes work?

Mickey Negus (00:22:27):

Yes and no. I think there are things you get used to seeing. Horrible things that you get used to seeing, and so that does wear on you and does become kind of routine. I remember the very first gunshot wound victim that came in. That one stayed with me, but I probably saw, I don’t know, 500 or 1,000 more and I don’t remember any of the other ones.


And so to a certain degree, things that shouldn’t be normal become normal and just become routine. But on the flip side, you really have to be at your peak every moment of every day. And so there’s a level of complacency that you cannot have in a medical role, especially in an ER.

Nick (00:23:09):

At this point in your life, are you framing the future of your career or your professional track as medical professional or did you want to disrupt that in some way?

Mickey Negus (00:23:18):

Yeah, that was a really big turning point. So I’d taken a couple classes at a community college and a local university thinking I would be pre-med and I hated that. So that’s when I made the decision of wanting to pursue something that I knew I truly loved. I loved reading, I loved writing, so I went down the English route.


And for me, I had met my husband at that time, he worked at Sandia National Laboratories, which is in Albuquerque, and he said, “Hey, you want to be a tech writer? There are no tech writers at the hospital. There are tech writers at Sandia, so why don’t you apply?” And that was, I mean, basically he recruited me to my next job, which was at Sandia.

Nick (00:23:54):

Sandia Labs has come up on the podcast multiple times now, and so a long time listeners of podcasts know that there’s a bunch of folks working within The Graph ecosystem that first networked at Sandia and eventually found themselves in the space. Let’s talk about Sandia. So what can you tell us for anybody that hasn’t listened to any of those prior episodes, what Sandia Laboratories is and what did you do there?

Mickey Negus (00:24:16):

Great question. So Sandia is a federally funded research and development center. It was born out of the Manhattan Project. Sandia used to actually be called Z-Division and was a part of Los Alamos National Lab that was handling the Manhattan Project. Now, Sandia’s mission is still to manage and steward the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile as well as several other national security missions related to intelligence, counterintelligence and counter-terrorism. And lastly, the third thing that they’re known for is fundamental core science and research.

Nick (00:24:53):

And you were doing what there? You mentioned that you started as a technical writer. Did that change over time?

Mickey Negus (00:24:59):

Yes, it did change over time. So I spent 10 years there, and my career evolved across those 10 years. I worked across many different departments in my time at Sandia, but you can pretty much summarize my time into two main areas. The first area is U.S. nuclear weapon design and U.S. stockpile surveillance both at the subsystem and system level. So what that means is I had roles where we were responsible for assessing the health and wellness of our existing stockpile, and then I had other roles that I was focused on designing a new U.S. nuclear weapon.


And the other life I live, the second part was on the counter-terrorism side. So I spent a part of my time there as the skillset manager for classified communication networks and devices used in counter-terrorism ops. So if a terrorist state or non-state actor was trying to steal a nuclear weapon or improvise a nuclear device or create a radiological dispersal device or a dirty bomb, I was a part of an ops task force where we used science and technology to defeat them with a 100% success rate.

Nick (00:26:07):

That’s amazing, right? So you join as a tech writer coming out of the medical field, you’ve basically disrupted your career path, so to speak in medicine and now you’re working for the government. And you’re in nuclear program, and I imagine a lot of that stuff you can’t talk about, but I do think guests would be interested in a couple of follow-up questions.


So for example, the nuclear program within United States. What was it like seeing how that works and did it shift your opinion on a topic that seems to be pretty highly debated, and that of course is in terms of having that type of capacity or capability?

Mickey Negus (00:26:41):

100%. I think my time there made me realize that regardless of your political affiliation, none of us really wanted nuclear weapons. However, we realized that if America is the first country to get rid of its nukes, we lose our competitive edge, we lose our stance of nuclear deterrence, which has prevented the proliferation of nuclear weapons around the world.


And so the U.S. policy of nuclear deterrence relies on us having a credible nuclear arsenal. If we could guarantee that other countries would scale down and safely get rid of and dispose of their nuclear weapons, we would be on board. None of us want these around, but the U.S. cannot be the first to go because we do protect many other countries through our NATO alliances.

Nick (00:27:32):

That doesn’t surprise me. There’s a little game theory in the answer to a question like that, and for me it’s a very rational response to a complicated international situation there. The other question I think listeners would love me to at least ask one follow up on is this work you did on counter-terrorism and again, respecting the classified nature and the government nature of the work you did there.


Maybe I’ll just ask this question, which is there’s a lot of people out there who don’t know or keep a pulse on the daily activities of teams that you were working on that are working on counter-terrorism and things like that. What’s the one thing that average people should know about that world? Is it a daily grind, there’s always stuff happening? Is it pretty sleepy and only big events spark interest or action? I mean, what’s the insight? You all should know this about that type of work.?

Mickey Negus (00:28:20):

I think the one takeaway I want everyone to know is that we are super safe. There are the world’s smartest people working on keeping American citizens safe and secure and really safe from existential threats presented by other, again, state or non-state actors abroad. So the number one takeaway is people are on it. You do not have to spend one minute of your day worrying about that.

Nick (00:28:47):

I think ironically, my question that I would want to ask now to you Mickey, would be what was it like going from an action packed highly emotional environment like the ER and going to work in a government job, but when you’re working on nuclear program as well as counter-terrorism, I got to imagine that is in fact equally perhaps as intense or maybe the energy levels the same, but I will still ask it. I mean, was there some of that sleepy government job type of transition for you or did it stay pretty upbeat?

Mickey Negus (00:29:17):

There were some elements of the jobs I had that were, I wouldn’t say sleepy, but maybe tedious or required working around a lot of government red tape. But I think working in the ER and the tremor room set me up for success working in counter-terrorism ops because it is a high stress environment and the stakes are also incredibly high. In the ER, you might have seven, eight patients around you that require you to be on your A game and in counter-terrorism ops, you have entire cities that are relying on you to be on your A game.


So I definitely feel, again, like what I learned the theme of my life, I learned some foundational skills in one role make a huge career pivot, but have relied on the lessons I learned in the past role to be successful in the current role. And I even feel that today in Edge & Node, I’m managing an operations team as well. And so I do feel like even though I have had many disparate career paths or pivots along the way, there are these foundational skills I’ve learned that have set me up for success.

Nick (00:30:18):

Well, let’s pivot here a little bit and introduce this idea then of web3 and crypto. So you’re working at Sandia Lab, as we’ve talked about to this point. You’ve got a very diverse background professionally and educationally. When do you first become aware of crypto? And take us back in time, what were your first impressions of crypto at that time?

Mickey Negus (00:30:36):

Yeah, so I would say like most people, I read an article many years ago about Bitcoin and someone buying pizza with it, and that was a big deal and I thought that was cool, but the article at the time said, “Unfortunately, it’s super hard to actually get Bitcoin, so we’re just not there yet.”


Also in the U.S., banks are pretty reliable in most cases for your day-to-day needs, you can go to an ATM, get cash and go buy pizza. So what is the use case in my daily life for meeting a guy in a shady alley to get Bitcoin to buy the pizza? That’s way more work and effort. So for me, I did not have a use case in my life that Bitcoin would solve.


And so over the years I heard about Bitcoin miners and energy consumption, and then I heard about Ponzi schemes. So I was a pretty passive bystander for a long time watching crypto and web3 unfold, and I was still really waiting for a compelling use case to suck me in. And also as a federal clearance holder, they strongly discouraged us from owning crypto.


So a former coworker of mine had quit Sandia, came to the ecosystem. As you mentioned, there are several ex Sandians in this space, in The Graph ecosystem. And I was sent a bunch of articles and links talking more about the web3 side of things and less on the defi side, and that sucked me in. That was the hook I had been waiting for.


Immediately, I could see the value of this web3 version of the internet where my friends who are influencers could manage relationships with their followers across platforms, where my friends in Russia could access real news without a dictator or a corrupt government changing the narrative, where artists like the ones I worked with at the Run Fair could monetize their work in a new way. For me, web3 is really what pulled me in.

Nick (00:32:28):

The point you make there is debated, especially in Twitter, crypto, this distinction between crypto and web3. And for you personally, based on your story you just shared, there is a distinction there. For a lot of listeners, I don’t know if there’s a distinction and for the broader world, I don’t know if they have yet made the distinction, but do you think that’s an important one to hold onto this idea that crypto and web3 are separate and distinct, and how should we think about how they relate?

Mickey Negus (00:32:56):

Yeah, I think we’re at the point where crypto is a use case under the broader web3 umbrella, but until recently, the web3 side of things didn’t exist. It was only crypto or only defi. And so now I think for me personally, I see this pivot where I don’t view crypto as a separate thing from web3. I view it as a use case under the web3 umbrella that has many other compelling use cases underneath it.

Nick (00:33:23):

Mickey, this is a follow-up question I ask all the time on the podcast, especially to people like you who… Again, you’re at Sandia, being promoted in different departments and working on bigger and bigger, more important problems, and yet you become aware of web3 and it’s a hook for you.


The question I want to ask you is what is it about web3 that takes a professional on solid footing and says, wow, this is really something important. Not only am I kind of intellectually intrigued, but eventually you make the move to Edge & Node and you go full-time. What’s the hook? Why is web3 something that really captures the attention of someone like yourself?

Mickey Negus (00:34:00):

For me, it was I needed the hook and I needed also a role that I was interested in. The role I applied for at Edge & Node was to be the engineering manager for The Graph Node team. Now, since we’ve reorged and I’m managing ops, but for me, I immediately saw the value of the ability to index blockchain data but not be locked under one company.


In one of my roles at Sandia, I managed a team that was building a web2 style Indexer to access data that was locked into different engineering applications within Sandia. Sandia is a pretty huge place, like there’s 16 or 17,000 people just in New Mexico, and so that was one challenge they were facing. So I’d gotten exposed to indexing in that way.


And then for me seeing the engineering management job for The Graph Node team, I got sucked into what Graph Node was and what The Graph was. And for me that was extremely compelling like, “Oh, okay, this is a major challenge. People need blockchain data and it’s really hard to get it, and The Graph makes that easy, like that I can understand.”


And then that broader hook of blockchain data isn’t just token exchange information, it is social media data. It’s for me, a very compelling use case is Ceramic or RE, I think immediately of when I lived in Russia, Putin was still president when I was in high school and he would change news articles. He was notorious for editing news publications.


And when you have someone who’s in control of the media for an entire country, the ability to put real information on chain that’s immutable cannot be changed by one party that’s game changing for many other nations. And so I personally have always been attracted to big missions, ER, Sandia, and now The Graph. For me, this is an extremely compelling mission. We are changing the world, and we are a core indexing and querying layer for web3 period.


If you want blockchain data, The Graph is the way to get that. You are not getting in bed with a giant centralized company. And for me, it hit all of the points I cared about, and it was fulfilling this need for an incredibly huge, big challenge and huge big mission that literally will change the world.

Nick (00:36:22):

When you’re talking to friends and family about making this move, are they scratching their heads and saying, you’re crazy? What are you doing moving from a great government career track to web3 and Edge & Node and what is this?

Mickey Negus (00:36:36):

Not really, no. I think my family has known… I mean, look at my career history. I’ve always admired the people who I feel like came out of the womb knowing what they were going to be when they grew up, and I’ve never been that person. So for me, I identify… If you’ve ever heard the term Renaissance soul, I very much am that way.


I am someone with very many interests and I have reinvented myself several times along the way, and I find that very satisfying. For me, I think my family, they all know that about me, and I am lucky to have very supportive family members around me. I think they were surprised that I had stayed so long in the government, if anything.

Nick (00:37:51):

Do you think your experience in Russia and maybe some of the exposure you had, did any of that prime you for an interest in web3 or an interest in this type of technology?

Mickey Negus (00:38:03):

I think for sure if you hear about struggles that other countries face, it’s hard. You have to emphasize, but it’s harder to do that when you haven’t lived it yourself. And so for me, living in Russia and seeing how dysfunctional a lot of things are, it’s hard to get access to your money. Buying property is virtually impossible. Just so many things, the news that I mentioned, like news being edited after the fact stories are changed, the narrative has changed.


I think a lot of that, having lived through that, it made me on a personal level understand the use cases that blockchain technology and web3 help solve. And I think it’s possible to do that if you’ve never experienced those things firsthand. But if you have experienced them firsthand or if you’re in a country right now listening to this where you’re like, yep, that’s my daily life, then inherently you get bought into web3 so much faster because in the past or present, you’re dealing with those issues. They’re painful to deal with.


I interviewed a candidate for a job the other day and he mentioned that getting money in India is a huge challenge, and he said for him and his family, they could go into a bank and get money immediately, and for other people who are less affluent, it would take eight hours for them to cash a check. So there are things that people deal with that maybe we don’t appreciate in the U.S. And for me, going to Russia, getting to experience some of those challenges definitely made me appreciate on a firsthand level the pain points that exist around the world and how web3 can help solve them.

Nick (00:39:38):

Well, you mentioned earlier some of the work you’re doing at Edge & Node but let’s go back and just double click on that. What can you tell us about your role in Edge & Node and some of the projects or initiatives that you’ve been working on?

Mickey Negus (00:39:47):

Yeah, so I’ve been there for a little over a year now. I was hired originally as the engineering manager for The Graph Node team, and then we went through a pretty significant reorg at the start of the year, so around December or January of this year. Now my department has evolved from January to about May timeframe. We completed our reorg. And now I’m managing a team that I call the Engineering Operations and Customer Success team.


So my department has several different domain areas within it. I manage technical support engineering, so the folks that resolve customer issues or route them through our triage process. I manage site reliability engineering, so those are the folks our amazing SREs who keep our infrastructure reliable and robust. We also have our security engineer, and she is responsible for ensuring that Edge & Node is resilient to attacks.


I also have our data engineer who builds pipelines to support data science, so we get insights into the health and wellness of our products. So it’s a pretty diverse group. We also have a contract database administrator, a Postgres expert who helps us manage our DBs and troubleshoot complex issues as well.


And then recently I stood up our support working group that has members from all of the other core developers of The Graph as well because support is very near and dear to my heart. I want to make sure that the many personas who interact with The Graph in any way get very high quality immediate support whenever they have an issue. So that’s my role in a nutshell.

Nick (00:41:26):

One thing that’s always murky for people that are new to the ecosystem, and I’m sure this was the case for you when you were learning about Edge & Node and The Graph and onboarding, that it gets murky because The Graph is decentralized. There is no Graph LLC, there’s no CEO of The Graph, anything like that. It’s an ecosystem. It’s a decentralized protocol, but you do have these core development teams and they are contributing and in a lot of ways offering those traditional functional roles or contributing those functional roles to the protocol.


And so when you’re talking about some of the role that you have there, help listeners understand kind of that Edge & Node/your department and The Graph protocol relationship.

Mickey Negus (00:42:09):

The Graph protocol is a collection of products and services that, as you mentioned, a handful of core development companies create and make available to the public. My department is responsible for getting help to people who use any of those products or services as well as resolving breaking issues on the hosted service or network subGraphs that we index as well.

Nick (00:42:35):

And longtime listeners know that I’ve had a lot of the other core dev teams and members from those teams on, so I invite anyone that wants to go back and learn, well, who are the other core devs and what are they contributing to go back and listen to some of those other episodes. You mentioned you’ve been working at Edge & Node now for just over a year, I believe. How has your perspective of The Graph changed since working at Sandia, doing a little bit of research, getting introduced to The Graph in Edge & Node to where you are today?

Mickey Negus (00:43:00):

Yeah, such a cool question. So originally, I thought we were just indexing blockchain data and then serving it up to dapps. And to some extent that’s true, but in my role, especially the one that I have now, I’ve gotten to know all of the other core developers and their roles. I’ve also been able to dig way more into the support side of things and really come to appreciate that there is so much going on.


We have people flying all over the world to hackathons and other events to increase adoption of The Graph. We have business development, building partnerships and relationships with new dapps and new chains. We have an incredible marketing team that handles all of our outward comms. We have the house of web3, so there’s a lot more going on than just purely indexing and querying. I used to view The Graph almost as a product, and recently I’ve been shifting my perspective to view it as a platform or an engine that other people build on top of or use to power their own dapps.

Nick (00:44:00):

This idea that The Graph is a platform has come up almost like an Easter egg over the years on this podcast. I’m thinking of interviews with Brandon Ramirez where he sort of hinted towards something like that. Ammad Oscon over at Semiotic had a really great take on that and so did a few other guests. I think that’s really an important point though, and that’s why I want to spend a minute here.


In what ways do you think in the long-term that becomes more true? For example, we know presently that The Graph is being used by developers primarily to query Blockchain data, but if you vision out and you attach this platform nature of The Graph, what do you envision? What do you see?

Mickey Negus (00:44:41):

It’s a challenging question to answer. I think the future is pretty unknowable, but I think what really sets The Graph apart and why I think it’ll be the platform that any dapp will build on in the future is because we are decentralized. So if one core developer ceases to exist, your life doesn’t change a whole lot. Versus if you have all of your data with a centralized indexing company, that’s not true. You’ll be locked in, you’ve gotten in bed with them and they really own your data.


So I think that is a huge differentiator, but also I do see The Graph extremely well positioned to anticipate our users’ needs or to hear their complaints and build out data services or features that suit their needs. So for example, we heard the need for an NFT use case, and we built out bio data sources to meet users’ needs. Do you see any of our competitors doing that? No. And I think those factors together make us extremely well-suited to become really the obvious choice for all dapps in the future.

Nick (00:45:46):

A minute ago, Mickey, I asked you what the average person should know about counter-terrorism because of you’ve seen behind the curtain, so to speak. I want to use that question again, but in this case, with The Graph, because of your role at Edge & Node, you got to see a lot of the things that are happening on a day-to-day basis.


And a lot of listeners of this podcast are very enthusiastic about The Graph, about web3, but they don’t necessarily have the opportunity right now to see or get exposure to the things that you’re seeing and working with core contributors and other core devs. So what’s the one thing that you would like people to know about that?

Mickey Negus (00:46:19):

There’s so much going on. I think if you’ve been following along with The Graph to any degree, then you’ve probably heard about the Sunrise Initiative. That is extremely exciting, and we are actively making progress against our Sunrise goals to enable all of the hosted service chains on the decentralized network and really bootstrap the network, make sure that new chains are available very quickly.


So a lot of work and efforts going into that huge initiative, and I just want people to know we’re taking that very seriously and are working super hard to deliver on our Sunrise commitments to you all.


The thing that I’m most passionate about right now is decentralized support. No other web3 protocol or ecosystem has solved how to handle support with multiple companies or individuals contributing to a protocol or to a service. And for me, I think this is a unique opportunity for The Graph to be the first ones to do that well, to provide decentralized support that is world-class. So I’m extremely passionate about that, and we are making near-term changes now through the end of the year that we think will make users very happy.

Nick (00:47:29):

Well, I do want to encourage any listeners, I want to learn more about Sunrise to visit the show notes. I’ll leave some links in there for some resources if you want to learn more about that particular initiative. Mickey, I do want to shift a little bit here to the industry level then. You’ve done a great job talking about your vision for the future of The Graph and how important The Graph is for web3. What are some of the challenges you think web3 and crypto are facing?

Mickey Negus (00:47:51):

I think challenges, there are many challenges, to be frank. I think we’re all aware of that. web3 reminds me the most of Web1. So if you are old enough to have grown up in that era, I feel like for me personally, the tipping point in Web1, my family was too poor for a long time to have a computer in our house, and we also lived in a small town, and so the library didn’t have computers either. My dad wrote a grant on behalf of the library so we could get computers in our town, and that was the tipping point.


Once I had access to a computer and knew how to use the internet, then the world blew wide open for me. web3 is kind of similar, I think until people have easy access to crypto or to dapps, and a lot of that funky web3 stuff is abstracted, like signing every little thing with your wallet or setting up a ledger in general. I think then we’ll see more mainstream adoption.


web3 today is really for developers, not for my dad, not for my grandma. You have to know more than the average person on the street in order to be able to use dapps. Once we abstract away a lot of those extra steps and make things super easy, then we’ll see crazy growth and crazy adoption.

Nick (00:49:06):

Well, Mickey only have a couple more questions for you before I ask you the GRTiQ 10. The first question is, you have an interesting career track. We’ve discussed some of that and I wish we had more time to discuss all of it in greater detail. What life philosophies have you learned or that you’ve used or employed as you’ve made these career changes and you’ve tried different things? I mean, what can you share with us or what are the insights you’ve gleaned from that experience?

Mickey Negus (00:49:32):

Yeah, I think a major one is it’s okay if you know exactly what you want to do and you find one niche and love it and spend your whole life doing that one thing. And it’s also okay if your life looks different. If you pivot and change careers and learn new skills and change jobs, that’s also totally okay. It doesn’t have to be one or the other and one’s not better than the other.


I think another key tenant in life is to always assume positive intent. I think back when you were in school, you get called to the principal’s office immediately you assume you’re in trouble, and more often than not, they just want to tell you your mom’s picking you up. And so I think it’s just key in the workforce as well, just to assume if someone wants to have a meeting with you or wants to give you feedback, just assume they have positive intent.


I think another thing too, just general life advice, only say something behind someone’s back if you’re willing to say it to their face as well. I really live by that tenet and I think it’s a good one to keep in mind. And then also listen before speaking. Other people have really important things to say, and if you think you have something important to say, you might actually want to just hold off and hear what someone else has in mind, and you cannot honestly learn so much from others.


And I think bringing others along with you is kind of the last thing I try to do. If I am saying something and someone else doesn’t understand, you meet them at their level. And I do that because I really also appreciate when people do that for me. I’m relatively new to web3, and so I ask a lot of questions even still, and I really appreciate people’s patience and their willingness to meet me where I am and bring me up to their speed. And so I try to pass that along to others.

Nick (00:51:12):

This next question I want to ask is selfish. It’s the one I want to know the answer to. And every once in a while a guest comes on the podcast and they inspire me because they’ve lived a life that in your particular case, there’s been pivots. You’ve lived in Russia, you went on the Renaissance Fair, you worked in the ER, you went to work for the government. Here you are at Edge & Node. I mean, there’s a lot of courage, there’s a lot of independence in your story, and it’s inspiring. Where does that come from?

Mickey Negus (00:51:39):

I kind of alluded to it. I mean, I grew up with really no money and only wore Thrift Store clothing or my brother’s hand-me-downs. I was a tomboy, not by choice for many years because my brother was older, so I inherited boy clothes. But honestly, the area where I grew up in, there were not a lot of opportunities there. Upstate New York, it’s pretty rural. It’s very easy to get sucked in and become a townie and make really bad decisions.


And I had always realized from an early age that we didn’t have money, and if I wanted experiences or things for myself, I had to work really hard to get money to afford those things. So I started waitressing under the table, quite frankly, when I was 13, realized that that was my opportunity. If I put in really hard work, I could get paid and then do the things I wanted to do in life.


My brother went down a different path. Frankly, we grew up in the same household, but he really got sucked into that, the townie life. And when I flew out to Russia, the last time I visited him there in New York was when he was in jail. And that frankly is a pretty common outcome for a lot of people where I grew up.


So for me, I saw what my future would look like if I stayed there and I saw what I could accomplish if I left. And just said yes to any opportunity that came my way. Nothing is permanent in life, and I felt like I could do whatever I wanted to if I put in that effort. If I wanted to live somewhere else, I could make that happen.


I put myself through school full-time while working full-time. That was really, really hard, and I did that for many years. And everything I have in life, I got through sweat equity. No one gave me anything. And I think that for me is a large part of who I am today. I think oftentimes laziness is a choice, and I’ve chosen to not be lazy and to not be afraid of saying also yes to new opportunities, even if they feel scary.

Nick (00:53:33):

A lot of people when they face those challenges, they’re actually bitter, so they don’t look at it as a tool or a resource to dig deep and go explore the world. They see it as a barrier to doing anything. They feel like they’ve been wronged or something. But you never had that lens. You never said, “Hey, I’ve been dealt an unfair hand here.”

Mickey Negus (00:53:49):

Not really, no. I’ve never seen other people’s successes or life circumstances as being unfair. I’ve never felt like I was robbed an opportunity to be born into a rich family, for example. Everyone has very different experiences, and I have a number of friends who were born into wealthy families and they have their own struggles. They have crippling anxiety or massive health issues. So money really doesn’t solve everything. But I think I never felt angry with the world for putting me in a position where I had to work hard to get out of.


My hometown like for me, it was just extra motivating, if anything, and a number of my friends are super supportive of me along the way, ones who were born into money and ones who aren’t. And I think, I don’t want anyone listening to this podcast who is born into money thinking they should feel guilty for that. You should absolutely not. I just think everyone has a different circumstance. You can’t control where you came from, but you can control where you go.

Nick (00:54:51):

And the last question I want to ask you then is I have this thesis that what pushes people forward in life, meaning they find the next big thing, whether it’s a promotion or the next job opportunity, that they usually hit a wall at some point. And whether they run through that wall or whether they kind of give up, determines whether they’re going to get that opportunity.


And a lot of people hit the wall and they don’t push through, and they give up in that moment. And maybe it’s justifiable, maybe they’re tired, maybe they’re anxious, maybe they’re angry, but for whatever reason, some people push through, some people don’t. What’s your advice to people who are up against the wall right now and you’ve been up against it, you have a great attitude, and like I said, you’re very inspiring. What’s your advice to anybody up against the wall right now? Not sure what they should do.

Mickey Negus (00:55:38):

If there are things within your control that you can change, just pick one thing, even if it’s small, that could help turn your attitude around. I think also know first of all, that you’re not alone. I think the other thing that you can think about is what do you need? What do you feel like you need? And do you need just a vacation? Do you need a total career change? Do you just need a minor change in your current company if it’s career, if you’re burnt out in your career?


So I think doing some internal reflection and thinking, trying to identify the source of what’s making you unhappy. If you hate your boss, you can change jobs. You can’t make your boss leave their role, but you can change where you work and take yourself out of that position. If you love your boss but you’re not happy with your projects, talk to your boss and tell them, hey, is there an opportunity for me to work on a new project?


If you don’t enjoy the industry you work in at all and you want a major change, you can totally do that. It’s just a matter of networking, thinking about what you want next, finding the right opportunity. And honestly, if you love everything about where you’re at, you’re just tired and you feel like things are never ending, take a vacation. Give yourself some self-care. Take care of yourself, but just hone in on the things that are within your control to change. Because if you wait for someone else to make changes for you, it’s never going to happen.

Nick (00:57:00):

Well, Mickey, thank you so much for answering that question and I appreciate the insight there. I now want to ask you the GRTiQ 10, and as I said at the beginning, I’m super interested to hear some of your answers to these, especially since you’re a voracious reader. And so I think a lot of listeners be curious to know your answer to that question. So are you ready for the GRTiQ 10?

Mickey Negus (00:57:19):


Nick (00:57:30):

What book or article has had the most impact on your life?

Mickey Negus (00:57:34):

Well, as you know, I read a lot, so I hope you’re not mad. I picked four books, but I’ll go through them quickly. So I read “White Privilege” by Paula S. Rothenberg in I think 2011, and that really made me aware of inherent privileges I have as a white person. I also read “The Whipping Girl” maybe around 2008 or 2009. And that helped me understand experiences of trans women. A close friend of mine was transitioning at the time, and that was a crucial book for me to understand her journey.


When I was in high school, I read “The Alphabet Versus the Goddess” by Leonard Shlain, which talks about the correlation of the alphabet or written language being introduced, and then the rise of patriarchal societies. Very interesting read.


And then the last one I mentioned or alluded to earlier, there’s a book called “The Renaissance Soul” by Margaret Lobenstine. So if you’re like me and you have a million different interests and you have reinvented your soul for a bunch of times, you are not alone and you’re most likely a renaissance soul. So you should give that book a read.

Nick (00:58:34):

Is there a movie or a TV show that you would recommend everybody should watch?

Mickey Negus (00:58:38):

Yeah, I did list three here as well. So “Arrival” is just an excellent movie. If you’re into UFOs and alien type shows. The movie’s a little bit long, but it sucks you in the entire time. And the ending’s very incredible. And also if you’re interested in just general linguistics, that is also a very cool movie to watch. “Jury Duty” is a show on, I think, Prime or something like that, and it’s hysterical. Definitely. I don’t want to ruin it or spoil it, just watch it.


And then the last one is “Drive to Survive.” So I’m a huge F1 fan. I think a lot of people in the ecosystem are as well, but honestly, I learned a lot. I am a manager, I’m a people manager, and “Drive to Survive” also, ironically, helped me think about the opportunities I give to early career people.


Max Verstappen took a huge, huge risk and let him drive multimillion dollar cars at Red Bull when he was in his very early 20s, which is an enormous amount of responsibility for someone whose brain is not fully developed yet. And it made me realize inherent biases that I had and that young people are very much, or early career people are very, very much capable of taking on massive challenges, and you can trust them to do huge, impactful things.

Nick (00:59:51):

And how about this one, if you could only listen to one music album for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?

Mickey Negus (00:59:56):

I did go back and listen to my most played albums. I would say if I had to choose one, I would probably choose “The Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance or “The Artificial Selection” album by Dance Gavin Dance.

Nick (01:00:07):

What’s the best advice someone’s ever given to you?

Mickey Negus (01:00:10):

I said it before, but I’ll say it again. Always assume positive intent.

Nick (01:00:14):

What’s One thing you’ve learned in your life that you don’t think most other people have learned or know quite yet?

Mickey Negus (01:00:19):

You do not need to be a specialist in just one thing to succeed in your career. Generalists are incredibly valuable and often make excellent leaders.

Nick (01:00:28):

How about this? What’s the best life hack you’ve discovered for yourself?

Mickey Negus (01:00:31):

So tactically, I set reminders for my messages in Slack, and then I only mark them as complete when they’re actually done because our Slack is a whirlwind. There’s always crazy activity going on and I want to read things and respond to them, but I don’t always have time in the moment, so I’ll just save them for later. But more broadly though, prioritize self-care. Take care of yourself, take a break in the middle of the workday, do whatever you need to preserve your physical and mental health.

Nick (01:00:54):

Based on your own life experiences and observations. What’s the one habit or characteristic that you think best explains how people find success in life?

Mickey Negus (01:01:03):

Stay curious and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Nick (01:01:06):

And then the final three are complete the sentence type questions. So Mickey, the first one is, the thing that most excites me about web3 is?

Mickey Negus (01:01:13):

Pioneering decentralized support.

Nick (01:01:16):

Awesome. And how about this? If you’re on X, formerly Twitter, then you should be following?

Mickey Negus (01:01:21):

I’m not on X, but you should follow The Graph and Edge & Node’s accounts. Our marketing and comms teams are incredible, but I would also say our House of web3 account on Instagram puts out some super funny content. So highly recommend.

Nick (01:01:34):

And then the last question, Mickey I’m happiest when?

Mickey Negus (01:01:37):

I have finished a very productive week of work and decompress on the weekends by hiking with my husband and dog, or reading a book.

Nick (01:01:52):

Mickey, thank you so much for joining me for this podcast. Like I said, your story’s inspiring and it also shows what’s possible when people are open to the world and saying yes. If listeners are interested in following you and staying up to date on some of the work that you’re doing, what’s the best way for them to stay in touch?

Mickey Negus (01:02:08):

Probably on LinkedIn. You can find me at linkedin.com/in/michaelalanegus.


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DISCLOSURE: GRTIQ is not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any other way connected with The Graph, or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates.  This material has been prepared for information purposes only, and it is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, tax, legal, financial, or investment advice. The content for this material is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The Graph token holders should do their own research regarding individual Indexers and the risks, including objectives, charges, and expenses, associated with the purchase of GRT or the delegation of GRT.